Dear Dr. Motorhead,

Hey Doc., I know Arnie Torgelson too. He bought that Chris Craft from Mercel. You know he and the Misses go by my place all the time now. Engine runs smooth as silk. Mercel, he’s kind of upset now that he knows that these multiple carburetors aren’t to tuff to deal with. But he’s doing O.K. I guess he’s got his eye on a Canadian boat. Seems as though this boat has been hanging in a boathouse for years up near Lake Full of Fish. He says it’s a Jeffrey. I never heard of such a boat, how about you? Anyway, things are pretty good up here on the range, although it’s a good thing I’m retired now. Pretty tuff to get a good job now that they shut down the mines ya know. I enjoy hanging out catching fish and junk like that. I used to be a mechanic up here fixing everything that broke or didn’’t run too good. You wouldn’t believe all the tools, gadgets, gauges and meters I have; fills my whole shop almost. I read what you write all the time. I think you are telling the people all the right stuff. But, one thing I don’t understand: I hear you talk about fixing motors and having them run smooth and trouble free. Your articles say things like, “while adjusting your carburetor, “get down close to your engine and listen for an idle drop.” Even in last month’s article you refused to talk about or suggest using a carburetor synchronizer, only described just what it is. For me, I can think about using all sorts of fancy gadgets to work on my motors. Even if I don’t have something new and real cool, the Snap-On tool truck still makes regular stops by my house to see what he can show or order for me.

Anyway, why don’t you advise on how to use engine analyzers, tach, and dwell meters, carburetor synchronizers, engine stethoscopes and the like? I mean you’re Dr. Motorhead, you must have a garage full of cool gadgets too. I bet you and Piston not only get visits from the Snap-On guy, but maybe MAC tool guy comes by your shop too. I even bet that Tim Allen is your favorite TV show guy. If Piston has learned anything from you by now, it is that you can’t have too many tools, right? I would be interested to know how tall is your toolbox? Do you have more than one? Do you give shop tours to make people jealous with all the neat stuff you and Piston have? I’m dying to hear just what you got.

Waldo Rizaldo
The up north tool guy.

Oh Waldo, you are suffering from a sickness that is little known to most. Many who suffer are totally unaware of their condition while many continue to live in denial. You are a tool junkie. Get some help soon; before you lose everything; even your wife and dog are in jeopardy. Take my advice, I have seen many a man fall to this insidious disease. It starts so innocently and before you know it, it takes over; all common sense and rational behavior is lost. There are laws to protect innocent children in playgrounds all over the country from the pusher man. You’ve heard the stories. The first marijuana cigarette is free then he has you hooked. I bet your first visit from the Snap-On guy was innocent enough — perhaps he gave you a tape measure or a pocket screwdriver — then he had you hooked. The story is the same every day all over the country, only the names are different. These creatures that prey on your tool compulsion, prosper from your silent addiction. I know that tool junkies will be the last to get help. Tools remain to be a necessity in most of our lives. Moderation is the key. Resist the urge to have every gadget known to man. Follow my advice and suppress your urges to have every tool in your possession. Save your money, take your lovely wife Leena to dinner, or save for your retirement — anything — but don’t fall prey to the Snap-On guy, “the tool pusher man”.

I try to get readers of this magazine to understand the mechanics of our engines. It is not rocket science and so much can be accomplished with a good ear and a little common sense. I encourage the readers to get involved in the mechanics of old boats from the simplistic side. Gain some confidence to tackle these projects knowing that you do not need a stable of tools and gadgets to perform most of the day-to-day tasks of maintaining and repairing our flathead engines. Yes, there are tools and meters that can assist you in your mechanical endeavors, but first you need to learn to fly by the seat of your pants. You should have an understanding of how everything works. This is the basis of my article. I am a Doctor. I have a PhD. This degree is to teach, not to make you well. That being said, I offer the Dr. Motorhead “seal of approval” basic tool chest to repair and maintain your vintage watercraft. All of these tools can be purchased at Sears for a nominal price and a lifetime
guarantee, however, I am always curious as to whose lifetime they reference – the tools or mine. Here they are….

  • One set of wrenches – open end & boxed combination
    3/16” to 3/4”.
  • One large crescent wrench for bolts in excess of 3/4”.
  • Assortment of Phillips and slot head screw drivers.
  • One large channel locks or Robogrip pliers.
  • One low voltage test light.
  • One jumper wire about 12” long (piece of wire with an alligator clip on each end)
  • One set of 3/8” sockets, ratchet and 6” extension (many of these socket kits come with a 1/4” socket as well…nice to have)
  • Roll of professional strength duct tape (leave the cheapo stuff at home)
  • Standard & needle nose pliers. (or is it nodle neese pliers)
  • One 13/16” spark plug socket.
  • Roll of electricians tape.
  • Feeler gauge.
  • Magnet on the end of a telescoping wand (for dropped screws and bolts in the bilge)
  • Some spare parts for emergency repairs (points, condenser, or a module if you have an electronic ignition, rotor, distributor cap, sparkplug, one spark
    plug wire)
  • Point’s file or an emery board fingernail file.
  • One small hammer (when all else fails).
  • Combination wire stripper and crimping tool
  • assortment of solderless connectors)
  • Small flashlight
  • Set of allen wrenches (or hex keys)

Optional equipment — yet recommended:

  • A multimeter, which is a voltage and resistance ohmmeter.
  • Tach and dwell meter.
  • Timing light.
  • 9/16” valve clinch nut open-end wrench.
  • Tubing cutter
  • Compression gauge.
  • A Uni-Syn carburetor-synchronizing tool (for multiple carburetor engines).
  • Torque wrench.
  • A bottle opener for the non-twist off type bottles of beer.
  • Disposable lighter.
  • Cell phone (to call Boat/US for a tow when all else fails.
  • Don’t forget, membership is 50% less with BSLOL
  • Tapered pine dowel.

In the next episode, I will talk to you about how to use some of this optional gadgetry. This will help you go from the ranks of “undergraduate to upper classman”. You will astound your neighbors and impress your wives. You will leave your children wide-eyed in disbelief.

Let’s get back to this boat Mercel has spotted. You say it is a Jeffrey. These boats are extremely rare. A gentleman named Miles Jeffrey built them in Athens, Ontario Canada. He would only build about one boat a year up in the loft of his barn. Well built, despite the use of steel screws. My advice is to have Mercel disconnect his phone or at least not have any conversations regarding the location and cost of this boat. Trust no one. His lines will be tapped with the news of your letter being published in the Boathouse. As a public service, I have changed the name of the actual Lake the boat is located on, that you identified in your letter. I hope things pick up for everyone on the Range. I’m sure other industries will emerge. In the mean time, signing off for now. See you all at the Rendezvous.

Dr. Motorhead